The author of Elisa once again shows her very real ability to tell a good story, with situations that are vital and characters that are alive. The setting is Washington state, and a valley running down to the Pacific; the time, the late 19th century. Katti Trenholme has been charged with the death of her husband, Evan-and her story is told through the medium of her trial, punctuated with flashbacks which trace her unhappy childhood, and its strange developments. Her father is a weakling, her step-mother is an Indian; Katti, at fourteen, is raped by a high school fellow student when, at a revival meeting, their emotions are abnormally aroused. The community runs her out- and Tim DeLeon, who has an unsavory nightclub in a neighboring town, gives her a job as a singer. From there, she is persuaded by Trenholme to go to San Francisco to study. Actually, he wants her as his mistress, but attempts to walk out of the situation when she becomes pregnant -- and does escape, but only after his friend, Craig, forces him to marry her. Again Katti takes a singing job at a nightclub, but eventually returns to Trenholme, to give her son a father. An old childhood sweetheart turns up. Evan accuses her of faithlessness. And in a quarrel, he falls and kills himself...So much for the pattern of her story, told against the skeleton of the trial, the cross examination, the evidence of witnesses -- and ending as the jury goes out, the decision still in question. A holding story, with emotional overtones, but without quite the freshness that characterized the earlier book.